Wells: I am very much obliged to you, Mr Stalin, for agreeing to see me. I was in the United States recently. I had a long conversation with President Roosevelt and tried to ascertain what his leading ideas were. Now I have come to ask you what you are doing to change the world . . .
Stalin: Not so very much.
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Apr 24, 2014 -
, by Victor Gijsbers, is a game combining Vladimir Propp's folktale archetypes
with totalitarian manipulation. One player assumes the role of Stalin, and with it the power to dictate the rules and order executions; other players are either actors trying to beguile him with a traditional rustic tale or courtiers trying to twist the tale's elements to their rivals' discredit. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Nov 6, 2013 -
Stalin's Blue Pencil
Djugashvili (later Stalin) was a ruthless person, and a serious editor. The Soviet historian Mikhail Gefter has written about coming across a manuscript on the German statesman Otto von Bismarck edited by Stalin's own hand. The marked-up copy dated from 1940, when the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany. Knowing that Stalin had been responsible for so much death and suffering, Gefter searched "for traces of those horrible things in the book." He found none. What he saw instead was "reasonable editing, pointing to quite a good taste and an understanding of history." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 15, 2013 -
Most of us reading on the blue lived through at least a portion of it. Forty-plus years of tension between the world's two superpowers and their allies. That's right: The Cold War.
Then, they made a documentary
. Aired on CNN in 1998, and never released on DVD,
the 24 episode, 20 hour series features tons of archival footage, along with many interviews with individuals directly involved at some of the highest levels.
You might not be able to see it on DVD, but you can watch the full series on Youtube, starting with Part 1: Comrades (1917-1945).
posted by symbioid
on Mar 27, 2012 -
Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume
. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference
that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana
became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring
that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again
return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin
. Mrs. Peters passed away
from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 28, 2011 -
Atlas Obscura provides a Guide to Communist Mummies
, and there's plenty more online. Visit Lenin's Mausoleum
, where he has been kept since 1924, defying his wishes to be buried next to his mother in St. Petersburg
. He wasn't alone forever, as Stalin's body was kept in the mausoleum after his death in 1953
, until his body was quietly removed in October, 1961
. Just under eight years later, Hồ Chí Minh died
, and against his wishes to be cremated, a very large state funeral was held
and Uncle Ho's embalmed remains were placed in a mausoleum
. Chairman Mao Zedong made A Proposal that all Central Leaders be Cremated after Death
in 1956, but his wishes were overlooked when he died in 1976
, and he joined the growing ranks of the preserved communist leaders in his own crystal casket, housed in a grand mausoleum
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Nov 21, 2011 -
The Movie Set That Ate Itself. Five years ago, a relatively unknown (and unhinged) director began one of the wildest experiments in film history. Armed with total creative control, he invaded a Ukrainian city, marshaled a cast of thousands and thousands, and constructed a totalitarian society in which the cameras are always rolling and the actors never go home.
posted by mykescipark
on Oct 30, 2011 -
Suvorov’s argument is simple. Stalin cleverly lured Hitler into war by offering to divide Poland. This act, Stalin knew, would prompt Britain and France to declare war on Germany. Stalin expected to pick up the pieces.
- Eric Margolis [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 14, 2009 -
After 60 years of separation due to her family being marked as an enemy of the people, and sent off to internal exile
a couple who spent only three days together after their marriage have reunited
, in an amazing stroke of luck. [more inside]
posted by korej
on Jan 18, 2008 -
"Trotsky lived on after Stalin, and to some extent is still alive today, not because young people want the world he wanted: a phantasm that not even he could define. What they want is to be him
posted by Firas
on Nov 11, 2007 -
Dead Road - Museum of Communism in the Open
. "It was one of the most ambitious projects of the Stalin era, known as the 'railway of bones'
. At least 10 people a day died during the four years of its construction [actually 1947-1953], but unlike most of Uncle Joe's grand designs it was never completed and now sits unfinished in the tundra, an icy road to nowhere." The transpolar railway
was built by labour camps^
501 and 503 and construction was stopped after the amnesty following Stalin's death in 1953; 800km, about half, was built. Some sections are currently in operation, but much is abandoned: depot and locomotives in Dolgoe
, Dolgoe itself
, labour camps
, more spectacular decay
. (Previously: Norilsk
, which was supposed to see an extension of the line.)
posted by parudox
on Aug 27, 2007 -
Moldovan wine was famous throughout the former Soviet Union
. The centerpiece of its industry was (and is) a huge network of caverns known as Cricova
where Stalin supposedly stored the remnants of Goering’s wine collection
. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought extreme economic hardship to Moldova. In the midst of this hardship, the Russian Government imposed a ban
on Moldovan (and Georgian) wines and cut off access to their largest export market. You might want to consider their plight if you visit the liquor store this weekend.
posted by jason's_planet
on Aug 12, 2006 -
The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat.
. . . .
When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes.
Vladimir Bukovsky, "who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities," explains
how America's use of torture "will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East."
posted by orthogonality
on Dec 18, 2005 -
"I have become more and more aware of the Stalinist tactics and mentality of much of the American Right..... Relentless insistence on unity, on the existence of an unprecedented and overwhelming external threat, and on the total moral depravity of political opposition were all integral to Stalinist propaganda, and they are a growing part of conservative rhetoric in the United States today.....[Hateful] rhetoric was the prelude to a terrific acceleration of state murder in the Soviet Union....when I read posts on right-wing websites and blogs such as Free Republic or Little Green Footballs, I am reminded strongly of the rage and rhetoric of the young Communist Party activists in the late 1920s....The drive to sustain the administration's alternative world, and the blind hatred and rage of many of President Bush's supporters, may well have disastrous consequences for America."
[ Matthew Lenoe, author of Closer To The Masses. Stalinist Culture,Social Revolution, And Soviet Newpapers
. Harvard University Press, 2004 ] An op-ed, by someone who knows a bit about totalitarianism, it reminds me of Metafilters 36201
, 32747 24363
posted by troutfishing
on Oct 28, 2004 -
"The crowds were so dense and chaotic outside that some people were trampled underfoot, others rammed against traffic lights, and some others choked to death. It is estimated that 500 people lost their lives while trying to get a glimpse of Stalin's corpse." The string quartet playing at Stalin's graveside wept openly - for Sergei Prokofiev, who died the same day and hour
Stalin was first interred next to Lenin, under glass
. But five years later, it was time to physically remove Stalin from a place of honor.
"Stalin had been a dictator and a tyrant. Yet he presented himself as the Father of Peoples, a wise leader, and the continuer of Lenin's cause. After his death, people began to acknowledge that he was responsible for the deaths of millions of their own countrymen."
posted by stonerose
on Jun 8, 2004 -
Dictators and their demises:
a miscellany. Saddam and the Destruction of Civil Society in Iraq
is the timely find, and deals with the entire history of Iraq since the Ba'ath party takeover, including a detailed ideological history of the party and the increasingly totalitarian aspects of Saddam's rule in Iraq.
To ask whether democracy, even in a non-Western sense, has a chance in Iraq is to jump one step ahead of the game. The fundamental questions we need to answer first are: What was the nature of Iraqi civil society before the Ba`thist regime destroyed it? How did the Ba`th oliberate it? And can Iraqi civil society be rebuilt after Saddam has left the stage?
posted by dhartung
on Apr 9, 2003 -
How did they die, and why is it important? The Death of the Father
is an exhibit tracing the deaths of some modern political villains [Stalin, Ceausescu, Tito, etc.] and exploring the political importance of death-as-closure in the ending of tyrannical regimes. A bit pomo at times, but you get to see Hitler's teeth! Just one of the many fascinating sites from the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections
posted by jessamyn
on Dec 11, 2002 -
asks the question: if Stalin and Hitler were both powerful wizards and battled each other, who'd win? I wish I could read enough Russian to tell whether or not this is a put-on.
posted by MrBaliHai
on Jan 1, 2002 -
Very important article about Israel, says Jorn
An article published on Arab web site, with intro by Gore Vidal, and re-issued with intro by Edward Said, is written by highly credentialled Israeli professor. Well, the opening intro para by Vidal is just plain contrary to facts. The Russian leader, Stalin, was violently anti-semitic and yet his country (33-13) also voted for the State of Israel. Did the "Jewish Lobby" give Joe a few million too?
Jorn. This stuff is getting tiresome. Be anti-Israel if you will. But please do not become a bore.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 1, 2001 -